Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Geek, The Elite and the MBA Ignorant

Mark Kooyman
4 min readSep 20, 2019

This blog is about a die-hard topic with a twist.

I often write about the MBAs and Wall Street and some of the stupid stuff that they cannot stop themselves from doing.

Today, I specifically put some of the hot client work on the back burner to highlight and expand on that stupid stuff.

If you read onward through the writing, I will reward you with something completely different in the next blog post.

Promise. Cross my heart.

I am writing this on a Tuesday night. This past Sunday I spent part of the morning working on a project for a law firm at one of the Atlanta coffee houses.

As I sat down at a table and turned on my MacBook Pro, I chatted briefly with a guy at the table next to mine.

I try not to stereotype, but this guy had a “geek” twist to his looks and personality.

He had a PC versus an Apple and a Nokia versus an iPhone.

Shortly after we chatted, a young lady showed up at his table and they started talking about business stuff.

The young lady introduced herself as a “marketing assistant” at Coca-Cola.

I need to mention that they were both mid-twenty-something Millennials.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to their conversation, but the next thing I knew they were talking about taking his product to market and, as he said, “make my millions on the IPO.”

Okay. I started to pay a bit more attention.

Their talk seemed to center on a course flow where he would ask for the young lady’s input and then she would give him an answer.

It quickly occurred to me, that these Millennials were actually constructing his business plan.

I tried to stay quiet and not invade into their discussion, but I finally had to butt in when the young lady asked the geek entrepreneur who was his target market and he replied that he had not set any parameters around it nor did he believe it was all that important to even do it.

“Afterall” he said… “Its any kid between 3-to-8 years of age.”

I commented that I could not help but overhear what they were talking about and I was curious what was the product being developed.

“It’s a kid’s product” was the reply.

I then asked if either had any kids. Both replied no.

Had they gone out and spoke to parents and kids in developing their product idea and both replied no.

Had they spent time watching Cartoon Network, Nick, Disney or Sesame Street, and they replied that they did not “waste time watching TV.”

When I suggested that entrepreneurs really needed to get out and meet, observe and bounce ideas off of their assumed targeted consumers, both quickly interrupted me.

She spoke first.

“Do you realize that I work for Coke and obviously I know the marketplace.”

He spoke next.

“I have an MBA from Yale. I am from the Northeast. Do you have an MBA?”

I answered, “yes, I have an MBA that I got to learn what not to do and I have an MA to learn how to observe people to learn what to do.”

They both then agreed, “you obviously then have no understanding about how you start up a business venture.”


(I promise, I am not making this up)

There’s an article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal about McDonald’s pulling rein on store growth based on a significant drop in sales.

The article goes on to highlight how McDonald’s attempted to be Politically Correct and avoid the wrath of the DC and Eastern Elite in their criticism of fast food in its role in causing American obesity.

McDonald’s aggressively has marketed its Kids Meals now complete with fresh apple slices.

They have spent millions rolling out their new “egg white only” breakfast sandwiches.

No more push on the French fries, but more push on the healthy, good-for-you, salads.

Shoot, forget those milk shakes and select a non-fat yogurt smoothie instead.

A Wall Street analyst is quoted in the article as highlighting McDonald’s sales are on a decline as partly due to Wendy’s launch of its Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.

The analysis cites the Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger as the best-selling new QSR product in the last decade.

Whether it is what we fuel our car with to what we use to warm the house to what we elect to do regarding our diet, word-use, hero-figures and child discipline, those DC and Eastern Elite believe that they can make market changes drive out the “evil” brands that are corrupting society.

My gut says that there is likely a close relationship between the DC and Eastern Elite and the professors lecturing to the MBA majors.

Certainly, those academics found at the Ivy League schools like Yale.

I might not be a PH.D., but my best advice is to frequently get out beyond the lecterns, the textbooks, the corporate facades and go sit down next to the common folks.

Watch them. Talk to them. Ask for their opinion and perspective.

Maybe… just maybe… go and order one of those Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburgers and listen to your gut as it dances in the fun of something juicy and tasty for a change.


Mark Kooyman

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.